Rea and Kawasaki Make Bright Start at Imola

by Louis Suddaby

Jonathan Rea sent an early warning to his World Superbike rivals that another weekend of domination could be on the cards by setting the pace in Friday practice at Imola. The Ulsterman, who holds a 50 point advantage over Leon Haslam at the top of the standings, led a Kawasaki 1-2 this afternoon with Tom Sykes in close company while Ducati appear the likeliest challengers to the powerful ZX-10Rs.

The Ducati squad are boosted this weekend by the return of Davide Giugliano after his pre-season testing injury and the Italian was straight back on the pace, finishing the morning session just two tenths shy of his teammate Chaz Davies in second spot. Giugliano also shone in the afternoon, heading into the final five minutes on top of the pile but Kawasaki would assert their authority in the closing stages, Rea pipping the no.34 Panigale by a quarter of a second.

Sykes looked on course to challenge his teammate on his final lap of the afternoon but an error at the Variante Bassa saw him finish 0.173s adrift in second. Giugliano held on to third while FP1 pacesetter Davies tumbled to fourth on a 1:47.686, three tenths down.

Leon Haslam leads the chasing pack once again on the Aprilia RSV4 while Alex Lowes impressed to complete the top six on the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki, three seconds faster than his teammate Randy de Puniet. Ayrton Badovini was seventh fastest for BMW ahead of David Salom and Leandro Mercado while Sylvain Guintoli finished the day in tenth, giving him hope of avoiding another nerve-jangling experience in SP1.



165. Jonathan ReaKawasakiKawasaki Racing Team1:47.344
266. Tom SykesKawasakiKawasaki Racing Team1:47.517
334. Davide Racing – Ducati SBK Team1:47.582
47. Chaz Racing – Ducati SBK Team1:47.686
591. Leon HaslamApriliaAprilia Racing Team – Red Devils1:48.054
622. Alex LowesSuzukiVoltcom Crescent Suzuki1:48.660
786. Ayrton BadoviniBMWBMW Motorrad Italia SBK1:48.729
844. David SalomKawasakiTeam Pedercini1:49.073
936. Leandro MercadoDucatiBarni Racing Team1:49.201
101. Sylvain GuintoliHondaPATA Honda World Superbike Team1:49.296
1115. Matteo BaioccoDucatiAlthea Racing1:49.403
1284. Michel FabrizioDucatiAlthea Racing1:49.601
1360. Michael van der MarkHondaPATA Honda World Superbike Team1:49.651
142. Leon CamierMV AgustaMV Agusta Reparto Corse1:49.850
1581. Jordi TorresApriliaAprilia Racing Team – Red Devils1:49.966
1640. Roman RamosKawasakiTeam Go Eleven1:50.126
1759. Niccolo CanepaKawasakiGrillini SBK Team1:51.059
1814. Randy de PunietSuzukiVoltcom Crescent Suzuki1:52.139
1910. Imre TothBMWBMW Team Toth1:52.580
2023. Christophe PonssonKawasakiTeam Pedercini1:53.138
2175. Gabor RizmayerBMWBMW Team Toth1:53.813
2251. Santiago BarraganKawasakiGrillini SBK Team1:53.852

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